Dates: 15, 16 and 18 July 2013
Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York
Coordinator: Ms. Helene Gandois
The potential of international trade and the multilateral trading system to contribute to economic growth, development and employment is widely recognized. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the principal international organization governing world trade and providing a multilateral forum for trade negotiations. Established in 1995 as a successor organization to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), WTO counts 159 member states today. In November 2011, the WTO committed to a development agenda at its 4th Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar. Adopting the 'Doha Work Programme', trade ministers launched a new round of trade talks focusing on broad areas of global trade with a view to facilitating greater developing-country participation in the multilateral trading system.
The Doha Round was supposed to have been concluded by 1 January 2005, but due to persistent differences in the positions of countries, negotiations were suspended in July 2006. They were resumed again in February 2007, and while some progress was made, efforts to reach agreements continued to prove elusive. Further talks in July 2008 saw limited progress, but the negotiations fell apart over the issue of the special safeguard mechanism to be used by developing countries in the event of import surges.
With the global economic crisis, WTO Members turned their attention to adopting policies which would rejuvenate their economies. Less attention was given to the DDA negotiations, even though there are several studies which indicate that the successful conclusion of the Round could boost the global economy by several billions of dollars. Since then attempts to narrow the differences in Members' negotiating positions have floundered. At the Trade Negotiations Committee meeting on 29 April 2011, Director-General Lamy warned about the risk of collapse of the negotiations. He said that the positions of Members, particularly on sectoral agreements in the NAMA negotiations were unbridgeable. The future of the negotiations hangs in the balance and it is not certain if Members would make the necessary compromises which would pave the way for the conclusion of the Round. As both momentum for the Round wanes and Members continue to disagree on key areas of the negotiations, there are now talks of salvaging the Round through a 'plan B' as a means of preserving those areas that have been agreed to and protecting the vitality and credibility of the WTO."
At the end of the seminar, participants will be able to:
• Explain the objectives and rules of the multilateral trading system and the WTO framework;
• Analyze key negotiation issues and negotiation modalities under the Doha Round;
• Identify and discuss issues that cut across different related areas, including climate change, public health, gender, and development etc.;
• Further develop their expertise to contribute positively to current trade-related duties and negotiations within the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
This seminar is intended for delegates of permanent missions to the United Nations in New York who are involved or interested in trade-related issues, and/or follow the work of the Second and Sixth Committees of the General Assembly. Depending on space availability, representatives of governments, the United Nations system and civil society may also attend.
Registration and Fees:
The course participation fee is 600 USD. Diplomats from least developed countries and developing countries can participate free-of-charge.
All participants who successfully complete the seminar will receive a UNITAR Certificate of Participation.
The seminar will be conducted in English.